Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Opel GT - Classic, Affordable, Collectible

When I was a kid, someone in our neighborhood had one of these in blue and I always thought it was a really cool car. I love the styling, it's so mini Corvette-esque, though in truth the Corvette model it resembles came several years later. To me the Opel GT calls to mind the Toyota 2000GT, but whatever - it still looks great, and it's an awesome period piece. Never numerous, today these are scarcer than hen's teeth, and I haven't seen one in forever. The GT seems to be largely ignored by the collector market and it is relatively affordable for a rare old car. Bonus Trivia: The GT's retractable headlights are operated manually by a lever in the center console. The shot above is a vintage publicity shot and I have to ask, WTF is happening in this picture, why does the dude have a playboy magazine?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Essential Tools Every Serious DIY Homeowner Should Have

Electrical Edition

1. A Non-Contact Voltage Tester

Also called a "hot stick", these little units are indispensable and much handier than the old ones which had contact leads and a bulb which simply illuminated when the leads contacted voltage. First off, no leads means you don't have to have exposed wires to determine the presence of current. This one by Klein to the left is also self diagnostic and pretty much idiot proof. False positives (indicating current) are pretty common with these and can be annoying and they are no substitute for a meter when troubleshooting. But they are handy as all get out.

2. A GOOD Quality Electrician's Tool.

Like a lot of people, I had always used a cheap dime store version of these and cutting wires you wanted to strip and not cutting through wires I wanted to cut was a common occurrence. I can vouch for the Klein model pictured, it is the perfect size and strip wires perfectly EVERY time. It's a very high quality piece of kit and worth what I paid for it ten times over.

3. Most Importantly A Good Guide and an Electrician's Phone Number

The book below has been a tremendous help to me and I reccomend it. It's important to do things the right way (to code) so that the next person down the line understands what you did. Think of their safety as well as your own, yellow wire might have been on sale, but if it's not the correct color and size for the application, you are endangering yourself and others. When in doubt consult the code, if still in doubt, call a pro, it's not worth the risk.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1978 Porsche 928

I am one of the few unabashed 928 fans out there, having spent the better part of puberty lusting after one. Sure, I would have a few crushes on the odd Italian or British cars, but the 928 was the first car I absolutely loved. Part of that is it's impeccable timing, the 928 came into being as I entered the vulnerable age of 13. What really popped my cork about the 928 however was the styling, keep in mind the 928 debuted in 1978, when brown Cordoba's (see below) roamed the earth and cars still had names including the words "Brougham" and "Squire" and Les Nesmond anchored the news at WKRP. There was NOTHING that looked like the 928, it was the future embodied, like Barbara Bain in a space 1999 jumpsuit, it somehow managed to be both plain, futuristic and sexy. It's no coincidence that the movie poster for Risky Business featured Rebecca De Mornay draped on the hood of a 928. I saw one on the street the this morning and I swear to Christ it felt like I was 13 again.

RIP Ricardo

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Essential Tools Every Serious DIY Homeowner Should Have

1. Drywall Square/T-Square

Though I originally bought this for a drywall job, it really is the handiest thing since handles. It's perfect for plywood or any other large stock. You will be surprised how often you reach for this.

2. Clamps, Clamps and More Clamps. If you generally work single handed like I do, you really need a good selection of clamps to serve as extra hands when needed. Here are a few of the common types, you might also want to opt for a corner clamp or pipe clamp too.

Jorgenson Bar Clamp.

I waited many moons before I got one of these, partly because they always seemed like a "nice to have" and partly because they are not cheap. They are worth it, believe me
especially with today's dubious warped lumber. I used mine all the time during deck construction to hold warped boards straight while screwing down the board. Buy the longest one you can find.

Quick Grip Bar Clamps

This is another thing I waited too long to get because of cost. I use these most often to secure stock to the sawhorse or mitre saw, but the are invaluable wherever you need an extra set of hands.

Traditional Wooden Screw Clamps & Metal C Clamps

Stronger than quick clamps, these two are what you want when you need something to stay put.

3. Stair Gauges

These little guys clamp onto your rafter square on the reach and rise measurements planned for your stair stringers. They are cheap and makes laying out stringers a snap ! Good thing they are cheap, because the are easy to loose (I am on my third set)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters - Sid and Marty's Finest

I had forgotten all about this show, good lord

Understanding Wood Finishing - By Bob Flexner

For anyone who even dabbles in woodworking, this book
in invaluable - really. Flexner debunks old wives tales
and explains the science and chemistry behind the finish.
It is literally everything you need to know, I can't tell you
how much help this book has been to me.

Art Submarine in Venice

Alexander Ponomarev's art piece "SubTiziano" will be in Venice for the next several months
participating in the 53rd Venice Biennale. Previously the sub surfaced in the Louvre pools
and in Moscow. You can find out more about this installation and previous displays here: